GUYS MILLS — It’s rare to have the stars align for a special moment on the court. Thursday, the stage was perfectly set for Maplewood Tigers forward Maggie Hunter to etch her name in school history as a member of the 1,000 career point club.
During Monday’s contest against Eisenhower, Hunter was easily on pace to eclipse the 1,000 point mark. However, once she got within five points during the third quarter, she sat out for the remainder of the night. Someone was missing in attendance that night. Hunter’s grandfather, John Jones, wasn’t able to be there Tuesday, which led her to wait until Thursday.
“My grandpa introduced the game to me, and he comes to all of my sporting events,” Hunter said after the game. “He’s really inspired me to be the best I can be. I just love my grandpa, and I wouldn’t want to do it without him being there.”
Sitting on 995 career points, Hunter felt the nerves during warmups and the early portion of the contest. She missed her first two scoring chances before settling in with a lay-up with five minutes left in the first quarter.
After sinking her second lay-up a minute later, Hunter used a post move, as she’s done so many times during the last four years, to net her 1,000th point, with 2:49 left on the clock.
“I was kind of nervous going in,” Hunter said. “I didn’t want to spoil [the night]. My teammates made sure that I got it, and all of my family supported me, which was a big help. I just love this entire community.”
Once the ball fell through the net, the Woodshed crowd erupted. Hunter was immediately mobbed by her teammates, as they celebrated the milestone together.
As the dust settled, Hunter made her way across the court to her family. After giving out hugs to her mother, Susan Hunter, father, Ralph Hunter, and grandmother, Carole Jones, Maggie made her way to the bleachers to give a bouquet of flowers to her “grandpa,” and share the special moment together.
Once the game resumed, it didn’t take long for Hunter to climb up the next rung on the ladder of all-time leading scorers. By finishing with 10 points, Hunter passed Tom Hering (1,003 career points) for 11th all-time in MHS history in scoring.
“She works her tail off, and is the hardest worker I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Maplewood coach Kyle Krepps said. “She stays after practice and works on her game. She’s worked to get where she’s at, and that’s why it’s so gratifying. It’s always nice when the good kids get rewarded.”
Currently, Hunter has amassed 1,005 career points, and is 47 points away from the 10th all-time scorer, Robert Cierniakoski (1,052 career points). She has the sixth most points in Lady Tiger history, and trails the fifth-place holder, Addie Parker, by 82 points.
As for the Tigers’, they improved to 13-2 overall and 8-1 in Region 3 action with their commanding 71-21 win over the Eagles. The 71 points scored by the Maplewood offense was the highest total of the season.
Jordan Roser led the Tigers with 17 points, including four buckets from behind the arc. Sophie Varndell and Isabelle Snyder added 10 points apiece. Abby Palotas tallied a career-high five points, while Mackenzie Hill made the first varsity bucket of her career.
Maplewood will travel to Northwestern, today, for a non-region contest, at 7:30 p.m.